Sunday, June 19, 2011

Race Report: Bath County Sprint Triathlon

The Mighty Moms with Bob!

Yeehaw! Good times at the gorgeous Lake Moomaw in Warm Springs, Virginia. It’s worth the trip on windy back roads with limited cell coverage (!) to reach this beautiful town and this gem of a lake, nestled within the Allegheny Highlands. I guess the beige food worked, I finished 2nd overall among the women, and my friends Tanya and Jennifer finished 1st and 3rd in their big competitive age group! It was a good day for the team from One-on-One Endurance!

Tanya, Jennifer, and I stayed at a charming (2 bathrooms for 8 rooms) B+B with terrific hosts. The morning of the race we met the venerable Bob Valentine, another guest at the B+B. He remarked on the enormousness of my oatmeal breakfast which sparked a conversation where we learned he was 68, started triathlons 3 years ago, and is battling rheumatoid arthritis. Let me tell you, he looked spry, fit, and amazing!

Just before showtime I had a 2nd Surge gel from Pacific Health Labs. They recently offered $40 worth of purchases for $20 on TriCrowd’s Trinero site so I tried this caffeinated gel on my strong double-brick workout last weekend and today pre-swim. No, I’m not sponsored by them or anything but I really do like this product and will continue to use one pre-race.

SWIM (11th out of 88; 15:40)
After my grumbling, I wore the wetsuit, it wasn't so bad. I was in a wave of maybe 80 women, and 50 yards in I took a foot to the head. After that, I settled into a good groove and focused on technique, a strong pull, and not my labored breathing. I found a pair of feet that seemed to be swimming my speed and pretty straight so I thought I’d try some drafting. It turns out it’s not easy to stay on someone's feet. I spent so much time and effort chasing the feet that I decided it wasn’t worth it and I should just do my own dang swimming.

T1 (2/88)
Wobbly and dizzy, I had to hold on to the bike rack to get my wetsuit off. It was not a pretty transition but it was effective. While I struggled out of my rubber suit I was strangely fixated on my rack neighbor’s wetsuit drip-drip-dripping into my run hat, which I had to move.

BIKE (2/88; 0:36:45)
I had a smooth mount and started racing, chasing down whoever was ahead of me. Several times I thought about how fun the ride was and how fortunate I was to be out there experiencing it all, and on the new smooth, Teddy Roo! I got through the skinny U-turn safely unlike a friend of mine who dropped her bike there and hurt her elbow. Tricky!

The bizarro thing happened after I did my flying dismount and was cruising the last few meters (I thought) with just the left foot on the pedal, right leg alongside. People started yelling and I had no idea why. There were several lines on the asphalt and it appeared the dismount line had been moved further down the road. I was so disoriented by it all, I suddenly could not remember if I needed to be off before or after the line and so I overshot it but got off before the timing mat. I seriously wondered if I was disqualified.

Any ride finished without a crash or mechanical issue is a success to me.

T2 (27/88)
In the confusion, I passed by my bike rack and had to backtrack to rack it. A less-than-stellar transition courtesy of my pea brain.

The start of the run
RUN (2/88; 22:36)
I didn’t know if I was DQed or not but knew I just had to bust out the run regardless. This race has a doozy of a hill at the start and I kept the positive chatter coming. (Thanks, Casey for the well-timed “vroom vroom” reminder, I needed the laugh!)

As usual I refused to look at who was ahead of me at the turnaround. Jennifer and I passed after a bit and she yelled “you’re the second woman!” Yikes! I saw the top woman, Ellen Sortore, ahead in the distance with about a mile to go. I told myself to be brave and go for it, to not calculate the odds and concede without a fight. Plus I didn’t know who was behind me, ready to overtake me, so I couldn’t let up. I reeled her in, but ran out of time, distance, and gas! She beat me, fair and square, by FIVE seconds!! Way to go, Ellen. I heard later she had just gotten over pneumonia too, tough woman!

The tendonitis? Not a single peep. Gotta love endorphins. Still, I came home to reunite it with the ice bucket.

RESULTS (2/88; 1:16:55)
My times are nearly identical to last year's, which I finished in 1:16:58. My swim was quicker, and a better percentile ranking (but hard to say, the course distance can vary year to year).  This year's total of 1:16:55 would have had me 16th out of 133 men. Considering my limited running right now, I should be somewhat satisfied. I’m consistent, if nothing else, but honestly, I’d prefer progress, and will never stop striving for it. I won’t use age as an excuse. That's the personal challenge of this sport, to maximize our own potential and bust through our own walls and limitations.  (Full results here.)

  • KNOW where the bike dismount line is and get off before it!
  • Tighten up those transition times, especially T2.
  • Even when the odds are stacked against catching someone, push fear aside and go for it. Eventually it will pay off.
  • Keep training and raising the bar, don’t settle for consistency.

Of course one of my favorite things about races is the people! I love seeing Mike Morris who I have the smiling running photo with. I just found out he has set out to do a triathlon in every state by the time he is 60. He’s hit 30 so far! The soon-to-be-married Jordan Chang and Kristen Dicarlo are like the first family of Virginia Triathlon! They are both fabulous competitors but also work hard as Setup staff too for many of the events. Of course Mark Taylor, from the Roanoke Times, has a great wit overlaying his incredible athleticism. I met Jilian, a new triathlete and new mom from my same town. I got to help a newbie triathlete set up and settle in to her first race. I was helped when I was new, and still get help, and I try to find opportunities to welcome new triathletes.

Thanks to Coach Jim for preparing the three of us so well for these races and for giving us each what we uniquely need to race strong. Jennifer and Tanya, I treasure your support and friendship, and had a blast with you! Kurt, thanks for pushing me in the gym and helping me balance my racing and strength training goals. Lastly, a nod to Jake who first showed me I could be an athlete.

Next Stop: TriAdventure Summer Sprint - Sunday, June 26.